INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., Oct. 9, 2008 – USA Gymnastics has awarded the 2009 Visa Championships to Dallas, marking two firsts for the prestigious event: not only is this the event’s first visit to Dallas, but it is also the first time the event has featured all five of USA Gymnastics’ competitive disciplines – men’s and women’s gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling, and acrobatic gymnastics. Scheduled for Aug. 12-15, American Airlines Center will play host to men’s and women’s gymnastics, with the Dallas Convention Center holding the rhythmic and acrobatic gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling competition. The USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show, which is held in conjunction with the Visa Championships, will be staged at the Sheraton Dallas Hotel.

“Dallas has played an important role in the success of our past two Olympic teams,” said Steve Penny, president of USA Gymnastics. “Both Nastia Liukin and Carly Patterson, who have won the last two Olympic all-around gold medals, call Dallas home. Dallas is a city with a great gymnastics tradition, and it is a wonderful location for our most prestigious event.”

In addition to 2008 Olympic all-around champion Nastia Liukin of Parker, Texas, other national team members from the Dallas area include junior women’s gymnasts Rebecca Bross of Plano and Briley Casanova of Dallas, senior men’s gymnast Steven Legendre of Flower Mound, and senior trampoline and tumbling athlete Amy McDonald of Richardson. Between men’s and women’s gymnastics and trampoline and tumbling, 17 junior and senior national team members hail from or train in the state of Texas: men – Houston’s Raj Bhavsar, Sean Golden, Jonathan Horton and Sean Townsend, and Kingwood’s Dylan Akers, as well as Legendre; women – Chelsea Davis of Lakeway and Alaina Johnson of Tyler, along with Bross, Casanova and Liukin; and trampoline and tumbling – Amanda Bailey of Lubbock, Dakota Earnest of Plains, Sarah Gandy of Paris, Savannah Vinsant of Newton and Alaina Williams of Amarillo, as well as McDonald.

“Dallas is privileged to host this prestigious event,” said Dave Brown, vice president and general manager of American Airlines Center. “The Visa Championships is a showcase for the USA’s top gymnasts, many of whom live right here in the Dallas area.”

The Visa Championships determines the U.S. champions and the national team for each discipline for both the junior and senior elite levels. NBC Sports will broadcast action from men’s and women’s gymnastics. Tickets are expected to go on sale later this year.

"For 15 years, Visa has been proud to support American gymnastics, and the Visa Championships are a cornerstone of our ongoing commitment to America’s Olympic athletes," said Michael Lynch, head of global sponsorship management, Visa Inc. "Following the success of the U.S. gymnastics team in Beijing, we’re expecting an exciting event for the athletes and their growing number of fans."

“We’re excited that the Visa Championships is being held right here in our own backyard,” said Valeri Liukin, father and coach of Nastia Liukin, and owner of WOGA. “Dallas is a great place for gymnastics, and our athletes are looking forward to competing at home in front of their friends and family.”

Both men’s and women’s gymnastics will have two days of competition at American Airlines Center, which has hosted the post-Olympic tour for gymnastics. Anchoring the 72-acre Victory Park development, American Airlines Center serves as the backdrop to Dallas’ most vibrant urban gathering space. In addition to being home to the Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks, American Airlines Center has played host to several prominent events including the 2007 NHL All-Star Game, NBA Finals, Big 12 Championships and the 2003 USFSA National Figure Skating Championships.

The Dallas Convention Center, which has more than 1,000,000 sq. ft., is the site for rhythmic and acrobatic gymnastics, trampoline and tumbling. The Dallas Convention Center offers a staggering 726,726 square feet of prime, contiguous exhibit space along with a 203,000-square-foot column-free exhibit hall, the largest in the U.S. Plus, the Dallas Convention Center offers even more great features, such as a 9,816-seat arena, a theater with a 1,750-person capacity and 96 meeting rooms.

The USA Gymnastics National Congress and Trade Show is the annual gathering of professional members that offers educational and business sessions, a large exhibitor’s hall and other business and educational opportunities.